6largejalapenossliced lengthwise, seed and ribs removed
Soak toothpicks or wooden skewers in a bowl of water for 15-30 minutes.
Combine cream cheese with paprika, garlic, onion powder and salt.
Fill the cavity of each jalapeno with the cream cheese mixture, and then wrap a slice of the bacon securely around the jalapeno. Secure with a toothpick.
To Bake Jalapeno Poppers
Place the assembled poppers onto a broiler pan or a baking sheet lined with a metal rack. Bake at 425 degrees for 17-22 minutes or until bacon is crisp.
To Grill Jalapeno Poppers
Place the prepared poppers cut side down directly onto a grill heated to medium-low heat. Grill just until bacon begins to crisp up and then flip over. Grill for an additional 15-17 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked and the jalapenos are softened.
To Smoke Jalapeno Poppers
Place the assembled jalapeno poppers onto a smoker heated to 200 degrees, cut side up. Smoke for 25-30 minutes until the jalapenos are soft and the bacon is cooked. Turn the smoker up to 375 degrees, flip, and smoke for an additional 10 minutes, flipping once half-way through , or until bacon is crispy and rendered. Keep a close eye on the poppers as to not burn the bacon.
Bacon: Depending on the size of your jalapenos, you may only need a half a slice of bacon per popper. You want to cover the jalapeno popper entirely with bacon, but it is best to not overlap the bacon much, as that prevents it from crisping up.
If you would like really crispy bacon, I recommend pre-cooking your bacon before assembling the jalapeno poppers by microwaving the bacon for 2 minutes on a paper-towel-lined sheet or baking in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes.
Feel free to add up to ½ cup shredded cheese to cream cheese mixture for Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers.
You can pre-make these poppers for a party up to 3 days in advance before cooking. Assemble and refrigerate for up to 3 days in advance.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, it is best to pop under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to warm through and re-crisp the bacon up.
Wear disposable gloves when dealing with jalapenos or wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or mouth.